So I imagine that nursing for me is a lot like being in the MTC is like for Mark, my brother in law. The MTC is the Missionary Training Center for LDS missionaries. They go to the MTC to learn how to teach the lessons, as well as to get an intro to whatever language they will be speaking. Mark is going to California, where he will teach Spanish-speakers. He describes the MTC as being very routine, but that he's also super pumped to be there, especially when he gets a chance to actually teach real people. Missionaries in the MTC answer the phones when you call the number on the LDS church's commercials. He had a chance to teach a few people already, and he says it's great. Reading between the lines, I think the routine-ness of the MTC must be really tedious at times, as well as emotionally and physically challenging. Yet also super rewarding and fun.

So here I am as a new mom, with my little baby, and I find myself spending hours and hours and hours and hours and hours nursing. There's lots of benefits to breastfeeding, including the antibodies, the bonding, the cost - I don't know what made me decide to nurse Jane. I always assumed I would do this. I never really thought much about nursing, before, actually. Even when I was pregnant. I read in lots of places that nursing can be really frustrating, and that people who can't nurse for whatever reason can have a really hard time dealing with that on lots of different levels. I was always like, "yeah, yeah," in my mind. Now I'm like, "OHHHHHhhhhhhh I get it better now." There is a TON of pressure to breastfeed. Basically the message is something along the lines of: "You are a crappy mom if you can't breastfeed." Total baloney. Lots of people can't breastfeed their kids, but they are still good moms. The point is, being a good mom has a lot more to do with other things than just whether or not they choose to nurse. I like Becky's attitude towards this - basically, she said to try to ignore all of that pressure and do it however I feel would be best. She said that with that attitude she ended up nursing for longer, actually.

There's got to be lots of pressure to go on a mission, too. People who don't go have a really hard time dealing with that on lots of different levels. I think that in Mormon culture there is sometimes a message that, "You are a crappy person if you can't serve a mission." That is also total baloney. Lots of people can't serve missions but are still good people. The point is, being a good person has a lot more to do with other things than just whether or not they choose to go on a mission.

This analogy may be stretching it a little far because young LDS men who are eligible to serve missions are commanded to go, while nobody is commanding anybody to nurse. I guess the commandment is to take care of your kid - to make sure they get enough to eat.

Anyway, ways that I feel like I may be experiencing similar things to my brother in law are that he has a super predictable routine that can sometimes be very challenging, and that he is super excited for the future. My routine is basically: nurse - do something else - nurse - do something else - nurse - do something else...this baby has to eat every 3-4 hours. Someday I'd like to meet whoever it was who decided breastmilk should digest this quickly.

Jane is not an "all-business" eater, either. She usually takes between 30-40 minutes to finish eating. I've been reading in lots of different places to try to see if this is normal. I finally decided that I should follow my instincts. Yes it is normal. She's wetting/dirtying enough diapers, and gaining weight, and she doesn't always fall asleep right after eating. But whenever I see written that all babies will naturally "latch off" I just have to laugh. Jane does NOT do that. She will stay attached to me for as long as possible, even when I know she's not hungry anymore. I asked my pediatrician about this, and he asked if she was just "playing". I told him that I guess she is, but the truth is that it's really REALLY hard to tell. My brother said that having a little baby to take care of is like having my own live tamaguchi. Yeah, except with one really REALLY huge difference - Jane doesn't come with a little monitor telling you when she's hungry or full, or what's wrong when she cries. Oh yeah, and tamaguchis don't poop or pee. And Jane is way, WAY cuter.

The other way I feel like I'm experiencing a lot of things like Mark is that I am super happy to be a mom, and super excited for Jane to grow up. I bet I get a lot of responses from already-moms telling me to enjoy this time with her as a newborn, that it passes so quickly, and that I will be really sad when it's over. Yes, and no. It will be nice when she can finally smile. Becky said it exactly how I feel: "It's nice when they can smile because it's like, 'oh! You don't hate me!'" It will be nice when she will be able to talk and tell me what she needs. It will also be nice when I can figure out what to say to her! So far, after I say, "Jane, you're so beautiful!" I draw a huge blank.

Anyway, you may wonder why I'm posting this at 2 am. I needed something to do while Jane fell asleep on my lap. We're dumb new parents who have kept the cradle in our bedroom for these first two weeks, which means both Danny and I jump a mile when she coughs. I fed her at 1, and I don't want to wake Danny up when I bring her back. Now she's asleep and I'm supposed to "sleep when the baby sleeps" so goodnight.


Squirmy 11 day old Jane

Is this much squirming normal?

Jane's First Bath

Danny gave Jane her first bath a few days ago while I took some PG photos. She didn't cry until she got out, and then it was cold! She mostly seemed confused. "What the heck is going on????"



This was taken almost exactly a week ago. Since then she has grown, and you can tell!

I wonder what she thinks of her hiccups. So far she's only had them once when I was trying to nurse her, and that was kind of frustrating for both of us. Fortunately they went away quickly. Danny said that we could try putting her head IN the brown paper bag to get rid of them (as opposed to breathing in and out of it like an adult would). I just don't think there's any solution to getting rid of hiccups, whether you're newborn or ancient.


Birth Story of Jane Elizabeth Challis

Jane Elizabeth Challis was born at 3:07 on Wednesday, July 15. I went into labor at 3:08 am. It felt like the period from hell, except both in my back and in my tummy. Not a very comfy feeling, but at first it wasn't so painful. We started for the hospital at about 4 am. By the time we got there, it was noticeably worse. Very regular contractions at about 5 minutes apart. It felt like the worst period cramps I've ever experienced.

BY FAR the worst part about the entire experience was waiting to see whether or not the hospital would admit me. I was at Orem Community Hospital. In the end, I'm pretty certain that the main reason they DID admit me was because I was there on my due date, because I heard a snippet of a conversation between nurses the next day, talking about something totally unrelated, saying, "It's the difference between being 39 weeks and 6 day, and 40 weeks." I was only 3 cm dilated and after an hour, hadn't dilated more. But the contractions were regular. I also think the reason they admitted me was because they called the midwives who I have been seeing and they said to admit me.

I was so nervous they wouldn't admit me and I'd have to go home. That would have been unbearable. I knew it was labor. I didn't want to turn around and go home only to come back in a few hours. I swore that anything that lay ahead would be easier and I could do it, if only they would just admit me.

And they did.

There was actually a mix up with my insurance because stupid DMBA doesn't GET that I need a card with my married name on it; when I told them this, they sent me another one with my maiden name. So that was a pain. People asked me lots of questions about my medical history. I was asked to sign a lot of papers. My signature was really messy and I was mostly out of it. It just kept getting more and more painful. I know that it would have been less painful if I could have been kneeling in a bathtub, instead I was leaning back on a medical bed/chair. I was frightened. Danny was really good at calming me down.

Through the whole thing I never felt like swearing at him. Actually, it was the opposite. I really, really wanted him near. I didn't want him to touch me, except hold my hand, which he did. I can't really describe with words what this did for me. It made a huge difference. I love him.

So they asked if I wanted an epidural. I had already decided that I probably would want one, but because of my blood platelettes being low, I wasn't sure whether or not I would be able to to have one. Good thing I remembered this because I'm not sure they were going to check before giving it to me. Probably they would have. It seemed to take forever for them to check. It turned out to be 140. I don't know what the units are. Last time it was 110. If it's 100 or below, they don't give you an epidural. It's kind of silly because people who need c-sections get spinal taps even if they are down to 40. Again I feel retarded because I don't know what the units are measured in.

I decided to get an epidural because of two things: my husband, and my mother-in-law. Danny can't stand to see me in pain, and Janny said, "You wouldn't have a root canal without Novocaine, how is this any different?"

But I have a lot of friends with very mixed feelings on the subject. VERY mixed feelings. I think that's okay. I definitely think it's okay for people to choose not to have an epidural. There are lots and lots and lots of reasons people decide to do things. I think that this is a case where there is no clear cut universal "right" or "wrong", especially because of the way that epidurals work now, as opposed to 10 years ago. The doctors told me there is a LOT less medicine in epidurals nowadays. Kind of reminds me of birth control, actually. Anyway, I don't want to offend people who dislike epidurals for whatever reason. What I can say about MY experience is that at first I felt like a failure for asking for an epidural, and afterward I felt like buying flowers for my anesthesiologist. He did a perfect job, and I felt everything - except sharp pain. This was good for me.

They gave me an epidural, my midwife broke my water, and they gave me the lowest dosage of pitocin. Those were all things that I thought I would want to avoid. When I was actually in the situation, I decided completely different things than I thought I would. Go figure.

I didn't want pitocin because I had read that it is a drug made from cow oxytocin. The image of me being a cow in labor was just to horrible. When the nurse told me that it might be a good idea to put me on some pitocin, I cried. I was really upset. And then, I just wasn't.

I've been writing this post for about a week. It's SO HARD to find time to sit down and write on my blog. I have a friend who has an away message that asks people to excuse her typos because she regularly types while breastfeeding. As of right now, it seems like I will never be able to do that. I saw a woman breastfeeding in sacrament meeting once, with a blanket over herself of course. That also seems like an insurmountable feat. In fact, just breastfeeding with a blanket over me seems impossible. Sigh.

Anyway, I thought that the birth went extremely well. I had a mirror so I could watch everything that I was doing. That was good motivation, especially right after I saw her little head. I tore a little bit, but did not have an episiotomy, which was the main thing I wanted to avoid. My midwife was SO AWESOME. She did a great job. Suddenly I was holding Jane. I don't even remember the placenta coming out. Jane was so beautiful. She still is. SO beautiful.

We were in the hospital from Wednesday morning at 5 am to Friday morning at 9. Those two days reminded me a lot of my honeymoon, in that it was me and Danny together all the time. Except there was also Jane! It was literally like heaven. There were lots and lots of visitors. Sometimes that became very tiring. It felt good to be surrounded by friends. Janny and Dan came out from Colorado. Jeremy and Ruth Ann came, and Becky and Adam came. I'm sure Mary Lynn and Mark would have come if they could have. Joe, Sarah and Mykle, and Dot came. And of course my mom. I felt very loved and special.

I really liked Orem Community hospital. If you are thinking of giving birth there, as opposed to Utah Valley, I would do it. The nurses are nice. You don't have to change rooms after you deliver. It's small and friendly. I felt very well cared for. On the evaluation they gave me afterward, I gave them the highest marks.


Top 10 List Why Sarah Is Amazing

I meant to post this a long time ago, but better late than never.

Sarah is my little sister. She is an amazing person. She just had a birthday on July 4th. Some of you may think, "Oh wow! That's so great! You get fireworks for your birthday!" There are pros and cons to every single date, and I would have to agree with Sarah, there are probably slightly more cons to having your birthday on July 4th - never having anybody except family around, everything is closed, people think that you are automatically super patriotic so they always buy you red white and blue shirts that you can only wear once a year...yeah.

Sarah tried to change the day that we would celebrate her birthday one year. I don't know why exactly, but it never really stuck.

Anyway, in my family we have a tradition of writing top 10 lists for people who have birthdays. We also have a tradition of waking up whoever it is, racing to be the first to say, "Happy Birthday!" This year was my mom's 50th birthday and I BEAT MY DAD even though he was laying right next to her. One of the greatest triumphs of my life. Uh. Yeah.

Well here is my top 10 list of reasons why I think Sarah Ellen (Vasicek) Law is an awesome person:

10. Sarah marches to the beat of her own drum. She has her own fashion style. She has her own sense of humor. She has her own style. She is not afraid to be different from everybody else. That's pretty awesome.

9. Sarah is an awesome cartoonist. I think she should write an online comic strip like XKDC or whatever it is that my brother really likes. She would probably make a million dollars off the advertising. Seriously. Not only is she excellent at capturing emotions on paper in her drawings, but also in the dialog! SO FUNNY.

8. Sarah and Mykle hang out with me and Danny. They're probably the people we see most often, and have most often at our house. I like having them over a LOT. It feels comfortable to have them here.

7. Sarah has good taste in movies. What is always surprising me is how much more prudish she is than me when it comes to movies!!! Well. Sometimes. When she brings over a movie for us to watch, I know it will be good.

6. She's really good at analyzing people. She sees flaws and attributes equally. I think she is a very fair judge of character. "Excellent judge yes...NOT!" (that was quoting Iago, and was just randomly thrown in there. Doesn't mean anything.)

5. Sarah is the most excited person for me to have this baby, besides me and Danny. It feels good that she's so thrilled.

4. Sarah calls me randomly. I really like that. It's nice to get a phone call from somebody who just wants to talk, for no reason in particular. I like that a lot. I think she is probably the only person besides my mom and Danny who does that.

3. Sarah thinks I'm a great cook. It's been a while since I've cooked anything really delicious, but she still is always complimenting my cooking. That feels good.

2. Sarah copies me a lot. Like I just recently found out that she draws little cartoons of what she wants her future family to look like. I do this too. She was telling my mom about this, and I said, "Hey! I do that too!" and she said, "Well of course, who do you think I got the idea from?"

1. She's a reliable friend. If I need something, she will drop what she's doing to help. It's great to have her as my sister!

WAY TO GO SARAH! Happy 21st birthday!!!!


"I'm Hans Christian Andersen!"

I was at Barnes and Noble last night, and saw the 1952 film "Hans Christian Andersen" on DVD for $9.99. So of course I got it. That movie was a big influence on my childhood!

Not only that, but my ancestors are from the same town, Odense, in Denmark. My grandma's grandma spoke Danish. My mom seems to think we may even be somehow related, but I think that's kind of farfetched. Especially the way that Danish people did their names - Hans Christian Andersen's kids wouldn't be Andersens like my ancestors, they would be Hansens. It's super confusing. Maybe someday I will like sorting through Scandinavian ancestry. Right now I prefer Czechs and Utahns.

Danny and I watched it, and we both really liked it. What a great movie. And guess what? The music is by Frank Loesser (??????!!!!!)!!! He's the one who wrote the music for "Guys and Dolls". He also wrote the Christmas song, "Baby it's cold outside!" One of the most famous songwriters of the 20th century. Cool.

I took my very last test at BYU today. I am officially DONE with college! It's kind of pathetic that the test was for American Heritage. I walked out of the testing center thinking, "Man, that was exactly like a High School test." Most likely I passed. At this point, that's all that really matters.

And now, Jane is welcome to come any time she feels like it! (Psst, did you hear that, Jane???)


List of Playlists

I suddenly have a lot more time on my hands. Waiting for this baby. It's not comfy, I don't recommend it - but one really good thing is the me time. So I organized the music on my computer. There was 20 gigabytes, and I deleted half of it! Hey, I don't listen to it anymore, and I don't like it. If I could put the song into a playlist, then I kept it.

Here is the list of my playlists, and a short description of what they are. If you want to know what's on them, just ask!

"High Quality"
Dorky, random songs that both Danny and I love
example: Ghost Chickens in the Sky

4th of July
Patriotic songs
example: "Born in the U.S.A." by Bruce Springsteen

annoying songs that have been stuck in our heads for weeks at a time
example: "You Are My Lucky Star" from Singin' in the Rain

Arabic fall asleep to

Calm music from Jordan
example: عيني
by Amr Diab

Arabic to learn
Random Arabic music, some of which I have not listened to yet!
example: basically every single song by Feruz

Blast from the Past

Songs that I can remember being popular
example: "Toxic" by Brittney Spears (ugh)

cds that rock

Sometimes there are CDs that you listen to all the way through!
example: "O Brother, Where Art Thou" soundtrack

chicken soup for the ear

My favorite songs that make me happy
example: "Moonshadow" by Cat Stevens

Festive Holiday music
example: the CD my family recorded when we were little kids


Songs that motivate me to clean
example: basically, anything by the Aquabats

Cool Pool Party

Summer Music
example: basically, anything by the Beach Boys

depressing rainy day

sad, sad, sad, sad songs
example: "Stairway to Heaven" by Led Zeppelin


Technically, this includes Fox Searchlight animated flicks and "The Swan Princess", but...
example: the "Beauty and the Beast" soundtrack

energetic classical

example: Die Fledermaus Overture by Strauss

fall asleep to

I don't usually fall asleep to music, but this is an old playlist that I liked.
example: "From This Moment On" by Shania Twain

female angst

What's funny about this playlist is that most of the playlist is 3 artists: Evanescence, Alanis Morissette, and Avril Lavigne. I don't know how I'd feel if all of my music went into one playlist!


The entire Marriage of Figaro by Mozart


Songs in French
example: ranging from George Brassens to Star Academy 2002 to Louise Attaque

Gruntmaster 9000

This is a workout playlist, so fast, upbeat tunes
example: "the Best Years of our Lives" from the Shrek soundtrack

Happy Hickville, USA

upbeat, positive Country music
example: "She Thinks My Tractor's Sexy" by Kenny Chesney

I Love Danny
Music that reminds me of Danny
example: "Danny Boy" by Motab

in the mood

old time swing music
example: the Glenn Miller that I have

Jane's lullabies

songs that I'm hoping will help Jane fall asleep
example: lots of James Taylor

Jane's playtime

songs that I think would be fun for a little kid to grow up listening to
example: the Aquabats, the Beatles, and some Jack Johnson

Kate in Jordan

this is an old playlist of favorite songs that I listened to in Jordan
example: "Be Easy" by Massari (it was popular at the time!)


songs that have ended up on my blog somehow
example: "Le Temps des Cerises"

makes me cry every time

Okay, so they don't REALLY make me cry every time, but they're sappy x 1,000,000 and yes, sometimes I DO cry!
example: "A Heartbeat Away" from the Charly soundtrack

makes me cry every OTHER time

These songs are a continuation of the previous list, but maybe a little less sappy.
example: "Amazed" by Lonestar

men suck (except Danny)

I know I don't need breakup songs, but it makes a fun playlist
example: "Better Things to Do" by Terri Clark

my dog died and I love my truck

This is by far the funniest/best/longest playlist that I made. It has sad Country songs with hilarious lyrics.
example: "That Aint My Truck" by Rhett Akins

non-spirichal Mormon songs

These songs are by LDS artists but they aren't necessarily for Sunday listening
example: Colors, acapella groups like Vocal Point

non-obnoxious Classical Music
example: Mozart

oldies but goodies

Songs that weren't popular during my lifetime, but I still like!
example: "A-B-C" by the Jackson Five


Songs that have to do with places

example: "Gary, Indiana!" from the Music Man, and "California Girls" by the Beach Boys - you get the drift

Reliving My Childhood
Songs that I listened to a LOT when I was young
example: the entire CD of the Eagles' Greatest Hits

Reminds me of Greg Weld

He's a great friend who introduced me to a lot of music
example: Collective Soul

Renaissance Academy

Songs that I use in school (Arabic pop)
example: Nancy Ajram, Amr Diab, and that super annoying "Iowa Iowa na-na-nanananana!" rap song

S-Hot Love Songs

These are super-hot romantic songs!
example: "Would You Go With Me" by Josh Turner

Saturday Sibling Dinner

These are songs that remind me of my siblings
example: "Healing Waters" by Michelle Tumes - it reminds me of Joe

senior year emo/punk

This is the awful music I liked as a senior. Sometimes it's fun to listen to again...
example: anything and everything by Dashboard Confessional


This is what I've been listening to most often on Pandora. The problem with my collection is that it's limited (although, probably more extensive than most peoples'!)
example: The Phantom of the Opera, The Music Man, Newsies, Anything Goes, Wicked, Fiddler on the Roof, etc.

Social Dance 180 w/ Danny

These are foxtrots, cha-chas, waltzes, and a few swing songs
example: "Let's Do It, Let's Fall In Love" by Cole Porter


This is my Sunday playlist
example: EFY songs, Motab

Utards Can't Drive

Songs for driving
example: "Danger Zone" by Kenny Loggins?


Yet another workout mix. This is wishful thinking for post-baby days. Trust me, it's not happening right now!
example: the Gladiator Theme by Enya

So what you learn about me from my music is that my favorite genres are showtunes, soundtracks, and country, in that order. But I will listen to lots of things, and I also really, really like specific artists from other genres, like Bruce Springsteen and Collective Soul. Also, I don't own any rap music except for a few Will Smith songs, but only because they were super popular when I was in Middle School (like, "Gettin' Jiggy With It!" - is that even really considered rap???). I also like weird, nerdy, funny songs, like what Weird Al sings. And I also really like some classical music! Yeah, I'm dorky, but I've reconciled myself with that fact long ago.